Saturday, February 16, 2013

Erik Spoelstra: First Asian Coach in the NBA All-Star Game

Erik Spoelstra became the first Asian to coach in the upcoming NBA All-star game on Sunday February 17. Spoelstra is the head coach of the defending champion Miami Heat, who have the 3rd best record in the first half of the regular season at 36-14, behind San Antonio (42-12) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (39-14).

Spoelstra, who is of Filipino-Dutch ancestry, led the Heat to the championship last year, defeating the Oklahoma City 4 games to 2 and became the first ever Asian coach to win an NBA title.  "Coach Spo" was awarded the opportunity to coach in Sunday's game by virtue of his team having the best record in the Eastern Conference. Likewise, Gregg Poppovich of the San Antonio Spurs, who had the best record in the Western Conference, will coach the West.

He is honored to be the first Filipino to coach in the All-star game and told ABS-CBN, "There's no doubt about it, I'm proud to be Filipino, and I'm proud to represent the Asian community."

So far, the 42 year-old coach has the Miami Heat looking to defend their championship after going on a 7-game winning streak before the All-star with recent victories over the Clippers, the Lakers, and the Thunder.   Their win over the Thunder was a dominant performance by the Heat and Lebron James, who scored 39 points, making him only the 2nd player in history along with NBA great Wilt Chamberlain to score 30 points or more in 7 straight games.

In the All-Star game, Erik Spoelstra will start Heat center Chris Bosch in place of the injured Rajon Rondo.  The Eastern lineup will now have 3 Heat players in Bosch, Lebron James, and Dwyane Wade, and New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and Boston Celtics center Kevin Garnett.  As usual, like all previous All-Star contests, expect a high-scoring affair with little or no defensive effort.

In the meantime, honorary coach Erik Spoelstra can sit back and enjoy while the top stars from both conferences go at it on the court.

photo courtesy of audiovisualjunkie    



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